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UK construction slows, outlook remains uncertain

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World Cement,

The UK construction industry saw its fastest drop off in activity since July 2016 in March as weather disrupted activity. The IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI – a measure of industry activity – fell from 51.4 in February to 47.0 in March. A score under 50.0 indicates a decline in activity.

“The construction sector continued to experience subdued business conditions during March, but snow-related disruption was a key factor behind the marked decline in activity onsite,” said Tim Moore, Associate Director at IHS Markit and author of the IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI.

There was however some better news in the employment figures, as employment growth in the industry accelerated to a three-month high.

Looking more long term, uncertainty remains. “Without a strong pipeline of work and [with] strong risk strategies in place, the sector’s health remains in question,” said Duncan Brock, Group Director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS).

According to BMI Research, growth in the UK construction market will slow significantly this year with industrial and commercial sectors dragging the sector down. The residential sector will continue to outperform, while infrastructure will also remain positive, the market research company said in a recent note.

“Growth will slow to 1.6% year-on-year, driven particularly by weakness in 1H18, following a very strong 1H17, along with adverse weather conditions,” BMI Research said. “Risks to our forecast lay to the downside, with ongoing Brexit negotiations yet to yield any firm certainty for businesses on what trading conditions will look like after.”

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Construction news Cement news 2018